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Ultimate Adventure 2016, Part 2: Running the Rubicon and Fordyce #UA2016

Part 2: Wheeling Northern California Legends

Fred WilliamsWriterStaffPhotographer

If you were awake one morning back in June 2016 as the sun rose over Placerville, California, a small town nestled in the eastern side of the state not far from Sacramento and Reno, you would have seen twenty-some lifted 4x4s overflowing with gear headed out of town. It was mid-June and this was our group, up early, to get to the most famous trail in the world: the Rubicon.

The Ultimate Adventure is a weeklong four-wheeling trip where we spend days living out of our 4x4s. Every year we explore a new area with invited readers, supporting sponsors, staff rigs, and a handful of cronies. We hunt for the best trails an area has to offer. This year we started our week struggling across record heat in the deserts of southern California. (Read all about it in "Ultimate Adventure 2016, Part 1,"). The trip was led by Editor Christian Hazel in his inaugural role as leader of this "no trailers allowed," "run what you brung," "it's all about the adventure," event we've been putting on since 1999. The UA has become legendary for the challenge of taking your built 4x4, running the toughest trails you can find, and then driving it on road days between those trails.

Our troop battled overheating engines, transmissions, and drivers, but now we were climbing to the cooler temps of NorCal with a sigh of relief. There were also jitters of excitement from the attendees who were about to mark off some of bucket-list trails. The attendees come from all across the country, so you can imagine the sleepless night before we left Placerville as these guys, a long way from home, were about to go run the trail they had heard about for years. As the sun rose over Placerville, the attendees of UA 2016, well rested or not, were buzzing to see what the 'Con had to offer. And if running the Rubicon in a very post–hard winter, torn-up state wasn't enough, we had almost no sooner departed the Rubicon when it was time for an overnight trip up through the Fordyce Creek trail; arguably one of the most beautiful and entertaining 4x4 trails in the world.

After several epic days running bucket-list obstacles and world-renown routes, Ultimate Adventure 2016 sadly came to an end at the Boomtown casino just east of Reno . . . because why not?

What's in store for next year? Where will our band of hardcore T-case jockeys get their wheeling fix? You'll just have to wait to find out. But be sure to stop by fourwheeler.com/ultimate-adventure/ to enter if you want to see firsthand...because you can't come along if you don't enter.